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Oakhurst native Kenny Pickett shines in Steelers preseason opener

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without longtime star quarterback and Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger, who announced his retirement after the 2021 season. They got to see 2022 first-round draft pick and University of Pittsburgh grad Kenny Pickett make his preseason debut Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks. The Ocean Township alum went 13-for-15 for 95 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions with the Steelers. Pickett made a strong first impression in his debut controlling the ball, making right decisions and finding the right tempo.

Pickett's competition Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky got to play Saturday with each of them also throwing touchdown passes. He gets to learn from two quarterbacks who has been in the NFL for a couple of years now but knows that all three of them are fighting to win the starting job. Pickett has felt right at home with the Steelers since the draft as he will be playing in the same stadium he did in college. The Steelers' players and coaching staff have welcomed Pickett with open arms as he loves the bright lights, works hard every day and plays football the right way.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and the coaching staff loves Pickett's competitiveness, his ability to read defenses and his work with the offensive group so far this training camp. Pickett and George Pickens are the Steelers' top two picks in the 2022 draft and will be fun to watch for sure. Even though it was Pickett's debut Saturday, he felt like he could have done better with the yards but great first game overall.

The Pittsburgh Steelers should be excited about yesterday's performance from Pickett's preseason debut against a tough team in the Seattle Seahawks. Another important thing is that if Pickett has any questions, he can talk to Roethlisberger for any advice or what to expect in his rookie season. It will be hard at first for the fans not to see Roethlisberger, but Pickett will be a fantastic fit for the Steelers years to come. No one is expecting him to be Roethlisberger right away. All Pickett needs to do is to be himself, play his own game and limit the outside distractions.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will look to build up Pickett's snap count in next preseason game, so he gets comfortable playing against top defenses. The offensive line did a great job protecting Pickett, Rudolph and Trubisky allowing three sacks in Saturday's game.  This team could be a sleeper team in 2022 if everyone stays healthy.

Kenny Pickett's preseason debut Saturday showed what he can do, but he still has more room to improve. Rudolph and Trubisky will continue to push him for the starting job, but nothing has fazed Pickett so far. Trubisky is projected to be the starter to begin the season, but anything is possible like Kevin Garnett says.